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Violent Blues
Bruce Willard



Stahlecker Selections

Four Way
2016 • 54 pp. 6 x 9"
Poetry

$15.95 Paperback, 978-1-935536-75-8



“In an affecting collection following his debut, Holding Ground, Willard recalls his responsibility for a terrible accident by saying that it “draws me like a... [continued in Reviews below]”—Library Journal

Violent Blues focuses on personal violence—the violence we perpetrate on ourselves—and how we attempt to resolve it

Violent Blues is a blues-harp album of words, a soundtrack of self-violence and loss, introspection and renewal—one man’s search for intimacy and enduring music. Its poems are rooted in the natural world and tethered by concrete experience.

Reviews / Endorsements

“In an affecting collection following his debut, Holding Ground, Willard recalls his responsibility for a terrible accident by saying that it “draws me like a blues harp/ soaked in whisky from which the bent yawl of reeds/ becomes the song I have to play.” Like any good bluesman, he plays that song without self-pity, portraying a lost moment in town at night, the “implicated guilt” inspired by his son’s teacher, the seasons running together as he “fail[s] progressively,” and the effort “to try to understand/ what makes things work”—his confusion eventually surmounted by love. VERDICT Perfectly tuned language and rhythm; many readers will identify with Willard’s quietly troubled thoughts and small-town settings.”—Library Journal

“. . . I am struck by the sincerity of the voice here, the relentless set of mind-heart puzzles, the tender, wisdom-lit aloneness in this collection. Each poem, in a way, is a deep breath koan that musics-in-out from sea depths, dream echoes . . . This is a rare gift, a magnificent wave of poems that will move with you forever.”—Juan Felipe Herrera

“. . . these blue notes are singular and honor the earned truths of marriage and fathering, and name one’s errors with a poignant dignity. To which I say, snap your fingers, close your eyes, and nod along to its exquisite and pitch perfect lyric moods.” —Major Jackson

“I read Violent Blues with great pleasure. Then I read it again with even more. Its poems are vivid and surprising . . . They find their way in the course of their unfolding and make their own fine music as they go.”—Dan Gerber



BRUCE WILLARD’S first collection of poems, Holding Ground, was published by Four Way Books in 2013. Willard is a graduate of Middlebury College with a BA in American Literature and holds a MFA from Bennington College’s Writing Seminars program. In addition to his work as a poet, Willard is a businessman/entrepreneur.



Sat, 30 Sep 2017 15:38:24 -0500